Smog in the San Fernando Valley. File photo: Flickr/Mark Luethi

The searing multi-day heat wave hitting Southern California Sunday is more than just uncomfortable — it’s dangerous for people and pets.

Not only are heat-related illnesses possible, especially for the sick, elderly, children and pets, air pollution associated with the heat is in the unhealthy range.

And smog can create real breathing problems.

More triple-digit temperatures are expected in the San Fernando and Antelope valleys as the Southland’s weekend heat wave continues.

Temperatures will be nearly the same in the Santa Clarita Valley.

It all comes amid exceedingly unhealthy smog levels.

National Weather Service forecasters blamed the high heat on strong high pressure over the Western States and said it would cause temperatures to be 12-18 degrees above normal throughout the weekend, with the Antelope Valley boasting the warmest temperatures.

An excessive heat warning will be in force in the San Gabriel Mountains until 9 p.m. Wednesday, in the Antelope Valley from 11 a.m. Sunday to 9 p.m. Wednesday, and in the Santa Clarita Valley from Monday morning through Wednesday night.

“The very high temperatures create a dangerous situation in which heat- related illnesses are possible,” warned an NWS statement, urging area residents to avoid working in the sun and to take frequent rest breaks. And “never, ever leave people or pets in enclosed vehicles, even for a short period of time.”

Officials at the South Coast Air Quality Management District, meanwhile, said that ozone, a lung-damaging component of smog, would reach particularly unhealthy levels in the Santa Clarita, San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys, Inland Empire and the San Bernardino and San Gabriel mountains.

It said scorching temperatures will combine with atmospheric inversions, which trap pollution near the ground, to cause persistently poor air quality at least through early next week.

Southern California has experienced an increase in bad air days following decades of improving air quality, the Los Angeles Times reported. Last year the region experienced its worst smog season in years, logging 132 bad air days and ozone concentrations not seen since 2009.

–City News Service

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